By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon wins Almond Blossom
SAT ripon photo
Ripon Christian first baseman Lucas Vermeulen takes the throw while trying to catch Ripons Don Cooksey for the putout at first. - photo by Photo by Gary Jensen

Make no mistake about it but there’s good old fashion rivalry when it comes to Ripon High and Ripon Christian.
Evident of that was Friday’s championship game of the Ripon Almond Blossom Invitational Baseball Tournament.
The Indians claimed the title for the six-team event with a 9-0 win over the Knights at the RHS field.
“I was really up for this game,” said Ripon pitcher Luke Petker, who tossed a complete game one-hitter with 10 strikeouts.
The 6-foot-1 junior hurler was masterful, setting down the final 17 straight batters.
“(Petker) pitched a heck of a game,” RC coach John De Visser. “He mixed up speeds – we weren’t able to put the ball in play.”
Added Ripon coach Jon Manrique: “Luke was feeling it up there on the mound – he had his splitter working and kept them off balanced.”
Petker was also working with a new battery mate in Jerry Nix, who was filling in for Angelo Baciocco behind the plate.
Baciocco was in the game as the designated hitter.
“They worked well together,” Manrique said. “Jerry stepped it up for this game.”
The final tally notwithstanding, the two local teams played evenly through four innings as Petker and RC lefty Conner McGovern were locked in a scoreless duel.
The Knights (9-3) threatened in the first inning by getting a pair of runners on board. The Indians (13-2) did likewise in the second, with McGovern making a splendid defensive play while backing up an errant throw at first. He threw a strike to second for the inning-ending putout.
Ripon had the leadoff man on board in the fourth but RC countered by getting a double play.
But then the bottom fell out as the Indians scored three times in the fifth, taking advantage of a pair of RC errors along with a walk and two hits.
Donny Cooksey doubled to lead-off the frame and Matthew De Donatis drew walk. Nix then reached base when his slow roller was misplayed, allowing one run to score.
The Knights had a bright defensive moment when catcher Willem Hoekstra gunned down a runner at second base, throwing a strike to his shortstop Travis Vander Molen.
But Sammy Souza made it 3-0, driving in a pair with his base hit to center.
Ripon scored six more times in the sixth, making the most of errors and other RC miscues. The big hit was off the bat of Gabe Calvo, who laced a two-run single to center.
Meanwhile, Petker was in control of the game.  He was even more comfortable knowing that his  defense – included were De Donatis (shortstop), Calvo (first base), Eric Jacquez (second), Nick Price (third), Jack Mayer (rightfield), Souza (centerfield) and Cooksey (leftfield) – was there supporting his cause.
Both teams will return to league play next week.

Weston Ranch 6,
Lathrop 0
Junior pitcher Larry Martinez threw seven strong innings to help propel the Cougars past the Spartans in the Valley Oak League clash.
 Weston Ranch (3-0, 13-1) scored two fifth, two in the sixth and two in seventh at Lathrop (0-3 VOL, 3-6-1).
Raymond Acosta scored the first run, scoring on Manuel Rubio’s double. CJ Drain’s RBI single plated Rubio.

Sierra 4, East Union 2
Jared Bagley went six innings, allowing five hits with one walk and three strikeouts, sparking the Timberwolves (2-0 VOL, 6-1) to a win at East Union on Friday.
Bagley helped his cause by going 2 for 4 at the plate with two singles. Hunter Frisk also went 2 for 4 while JT Ortiz-Martinez had a hit and two walks.
Jordan Black got the save, retiring the final batter on a popup.